Initiative Foundation Get Logos

Awarding $1 Million Annually

Grants.jpg

The Initiative Foundation awards about $1 million annually in grants to qualifying organizations in Central Minnesota.

Guided by our five-year strategic plan and focus areas, the Initiative Foundation awards grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, governments and schools in our service area.

Nearly 85 percent of grants awarded originate from two programs: our Thriving Organizations Partnership and our Thriving Communities InitiativeAdditional grant support comes from the Initiative Foundation's Innovation Fund or its Turn Key Funds.

All grants from the Innovation Fund must support projects that address at least one of the following areas:

  • Help communities address opportunities or barriers to business growth and employment with active participation by private, public and nonprofit sectors.
  • Advance economic security for vulnerable children and families through program or organizational capacity building efforts.
  • Support community-based early childhood efforts to advance literacy, school readiness and access to dental services.
  • Support training for future, displaced or underemployed workers that lead to employment or advancement in growing industries.
  • Help small businesses survive and grow through access to services, mentorship and education efforts.
  • Support planning for community-based recreational amenities such as trail networks that enhance regional quality of life to attract and retain skilled workers and young families.
  • Develop local response and recovery efforts associated with significant natural disasters.

Innovation Fund review schedule

Inquiry Submitted By: Notified for Invite / Decline of Full Proposal By: Full Proposal Due By:
Jan. 10 Jan. 24 Feb. 28
March 28 April 11 May 9
July 25 Aug. 8 Sept. 5
Oct. 10 Oct. 24 Nov. 21

You can verify a project's eligibility by selecting the Grant Guidelines tab above.

Once you’ve confirmed that your project fits within the guidelines, you can select the Apply/Login tab above to use the Initiative Foundation's online grant system to create an account, complete an eligibility quiz, submit inquiries and proposals, review your application history and submit grant reports.

Reviewing grant reports

The following documents are for organizations currently receiving a grant. Once completed, refer to the provided instructions for next steps.

> Grantee Progress Report
> Financial Report Form


Regardless of circumstances, the Initiative Foundation cannot provide grants to individuals or businesses.

The Initiative Foundation makes grants for projects and programs that advance our mission to unlock the power of Central Minnesota people to build and sustain thriving communities. We do this through our programs, the Innovation Fund, and community- and donor-advised funds.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofits or local units of government that serve the people and communities within Benton, Cass, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena and/or Wright Counties. Funding requests for outside of this area will not be considered. Individuals are ineligible to apply for funds.

Priorities

The Innovation Fund (totaling about $350,000 in 2014) is awarded through a competitive review process. In the most recent fiscal year, the Initiative Foundation’s average grant award was about $5,000. Innovation Fund grants support program or capacity-building projects that address at least one of the following priorities:

  • Help communities address opportunities or barriers to business growth and employment with active participation by private, public and nonprofit sectors.
  • Advance economic security for vulnerable children and families through program or organizational capacity building efforts.
  • Support community-based early childhood efforts to advance literacy, school readiness and access to dental services.
  • Support training for future, displaced or underemployed workers that lead to employment or advancement in growing industries.
  • Help small businesses survive and grow through access to services, mentorship and education efforts.
  • Support planning for community-based recreational amenities such as trail networks that enhance regional quality of life to attract and retain skilled workers and young families.
  • Develop local response and recovery efforts associated with significant natural disasters.

The Initiative Foundation also offers grant support associated with our core programs, which focus on strengthening nonprofits and supporting community and economic development.

Ineligible Expenses

The following expenses are ineligible and will not be considered for Innovation Fund funding:

  • Grants, loans or reimbursements to individuals and businesses.
  • Expenses incurred prior to the receipt of a grant award.
  • Capital expenses (e.g., buildings, equipment, vehicles, etc.).
  • Any programs or projects that DO NOT directly benefit residents in the Initiative Foundation’s 14-county service area.
  • Replacement of government funding.
  • Religious activities.
  • Lobbying or campaigning for a candidate, issue or referendum vote.
  • Development or purchase of school curriculum or support for school athletic programs.
  • Arts, health-related and media production applications are discouraged unless they directly address at least one of the defined priorities.

Application Process: Letter of Inquiry

Qualified organizations interested in applying are required to complete an electronic Letter of Inquiry.

Inquiries are accepted on an ongoing basis and reviewed based on the timeline below. If the proposed project is selected, applicants are invited to submit a full proposal. Many factors affect the decision of whether or not to invite a full proposal, including but not limited to available funding. We reserve the right to decline a request for any reason (including poor history of report submissions for prior grants).

Full Proposals

Proposals are accepted based on the timeline below:

Inquiry Submitted By: Notified for Invite / Decline of Full Proposal By: Full Proposal Due By:
Jan. 10 Jan. 24 Feb. 28
March 28 April 11 May 9
July 25 Aug. 8 Sept. 5
Oct. 10 Oct. 24 Nov. 21

Full proposals generally are reviewed within 30 to 45 days.

The Initiative Foundation strives to treat applicants with courtesy and respect. Staff members are sensitive to varying levels of experience in completing applications, and therefore encourage open communication with our staff for assistance.

For more information, please contact us by email at grants@ifound.org or by calling (320) 632-9255 or toll free (877) 632-9255.

Once you’ve confirmed that your project fits within the guidelines, you can use the Initiative Foundation's online grant system to create an account, complete an eligibility quiz, submit inquiries and proposals, review your application history and submit grant reports. To use the system, click one of the buttons below:

Start InquiryAccount Login

Click Start Inquiry to create an account and submit your first inquiry or to start a new inquiry. Click Account Login to return to an existing inquiry/proposal, access application history or submit a grant report.

Reviewing grant reports

The following documents are for organizations currently receiving a grant. Once completed, refer to the provided instructions for next steps.

> Grantee Progress Report
> Financial Report Form

 
 

Connect:

Don_Hickman.jpg

Don Hickman
Vice President for Community and Economic Development
dhickman@ifound.org | (320) 632-9255

Kendra Botzek

Kendra Botzek
Program Assistant for Community and Economic Development
kbotzek@ifound.org | (320) 631-2058


Insight & Information

Since 1986, the Foundation has awarded 4,249 grants totaling $26 million. The average grant award is about $5,000. Visit our Grants Awards page to learn more.

In all of its grant-making efforts, the Foundation subscribes to the Minnesota Council on Foundation’s Principles for Grantmakers.

Keep Investing In
Central Minnesota

Thanks to our supporters and contributors for powering possible and investing in Central Minnesota. Keep the momentum going.

      DONATE TODAY